Do’s and Don’ts of Testing IT Candidates


When you’re looking to hire a new IT candidate, there are a few things that make the interview and screening processes a little different from those in other industries. One of those things is “testing.” Testing IT candidates usually involves putting their technical skills…well, to the test.
But as is true with most parts of the screening and interviewing process, there’s a right way (and a wrong way) to test potential employees for an IT position. In this post, we talk about a few of the do’s and don’ts of testing IT candidates.

DO do your research.

There are many different programs you can use to test your IT candidates, and they’re not all created equal. Make sure you choose one that can measure what you want to measure and give you the results in a useful, understandable format. If you can’t find a company that’s a good fit, you might want to set up your own testing process.

DON’T assume that all candidates need testing.

Some candidates may be concerned about your desire to “test” them, thinking it means a lack of trust. If you have reason to be confident in a candidate’s skills without going through the typical testing process (based on experience or a reference), then testing would be a waste of everyone’s time. If you absolutely must test every candidate, make sure you explain that this is part of your standardized process and that you take a “trust, but verify” approach when it comes to IT skills.

DO use an expert you trust to validate test results.

If you know very little about IT yourself, it might be difficult for you to evaluate the results of your testing. Find an expert in the field to help you interpret the results, and you’ll be better informed as you proceed to your hiring decision. This will be especially important if you do your own testing, rather than hiring an outside company.

DON’T base the entire decision on the testing.

Remember: testing is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to vetting an IT candidate. A test isn’t necessarily an accurate representation of how the person really works on a day-to-day basis, so whether they perform well or poorly, take the results with a grain of salt.

DO use a staffing company to help test candidates.

A staffing company (particularly one that specializes in staffing IT positions) can make all the difference in your hiring process. They can help you find, screen, and test candidates appropriately for your IT positions, which means less work for you and a higher likelihood of finding a truly great employee. Worried about the cost? Trust us, a bad hire is much more expensive.
These do’s and don’ts should at least get you started as you prepare to test IT candidates. With the right preparation and follow-through, your testing process will help immensely as you search for the next member of your IT team.

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